Following the public backlash provoked by Bet365’s controversial football streaming promotion last weekend, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has said its members are willing to terminate their streaming rights to FA Cup games.
Bet365, the operator which had the rights to most FA Cup games at the weekend, and whose decision to only allow those who had wagered or deposited in the previous 24 hours to access match streams, has supported the offer to ditch their rights.
The controversy was amplified by the fact that Bet365’s move coincided with a mental health campaign run by the FA and charity Heads Together. British popular media particularly, like the Daily Mail, went as far as saying Bet365 had slapped Prince William – the FA’s President – in the face (see BET365 ‘SLAPS PRINCE WILLIAM IN FACE’ & SCORES OWN GOAL WITH FOOLISH FOOTBALL STREAMING PROMO).
The streaming rights deal with gambling operators dates back to 2017, and was arranged through a third-party, though the FA itself cut direct ties with gambling firms shortly after.
Along with Bet365, other gambling brands including Betfair, William Hill, Coral, Ladbrokes, Unibet and Paddy Power have been party to the FA Cup streaming deal since the start of last season. The operators of all those brands (GVC Holdings (Ladbrokes and Coral), Flutter Entertainment (Paddy Power and Betfair), William Hill, and Kindred Group (Unibet), have all now joined Bet365 in supporting the BGC statement.
Commenting on the issue Chairman of the BGC, Brigid Simmonds, explained:
“Our members did not seek exclusivity for the rights to screen FA cup games. They are therefore happy for IMG to offer the rights to screen these games to the Football Association or another appropriate body so the games can be viewed for free by the public with immediate effect.”
Politicians have also weighed in on the controversy, with Sports Minister Nigel Davies reportedly scheduled to meet with the FA.